FAYETTEVILLE — Autumn Storms was nothing less than hot for Arkansas on a cool evening, tossing a career-high 13 strikeouts in a 7-1 victory over Southeast Missouri State.
The home-opener win included a five-run fourth inning highlighted by back-to-back home runs by senior Haydi Bugarin and sophomore Nicole Duncan.
The Razorbacks had a narrow one-run lead through two innings, after sophomore Kayla Green floated a sacrifice fly back to the right-field warning track, giving sophomore Hannah McEwen the opportunity to score from third.
SEMO (7-4) would respond with a run of its own in the top of the third inning after a Razorback error would put runners on the corners. Redhawk Mykaela Arrellanes scored on the next hit, giving SEMO its only run of the game.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Redhawks owned the best batting average of those teams participating in the Razorback Invitational (.333 batting average), but the Arkansas defense held them to only four hits and a .180 performance at the plate in the Razorbacks’ victory.
The Hogs’ offense exploded in the fourth inning, and with two outs on the board, Bugarin would spark the rally that would score five runs on four hits. Bugarin’s home run over the left-field wall and into the parking lot is the ninth of her career and second of the season.
Duncan followed in similar fashion, blasting the first pitch over the right-field fence into the Bogle Park outfield berm. It is the first for Duncan in the cardinal and white.
The back-to-back home runs bring Arkansas’s total to nine on the season, coming from seven different Hogs.
Sophomore transfer Danielle Gibson finished the night 3-for-4 at the plate, including a fourth-inning double that scored Sydney Parr who had reached on a SEMO error earlier that inning.
Senior Katie Warrick earned a four-pitch walk to load the bases full of Hogs and the Redhawks would call for a defensive change in the circle. Starting pitcher Haley Thogmartin would walk away with the loss, her second of the season, after allowing six runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings.
Now with the bases loaded, the Razorbacks scored two more, as senior Ashley Diaz and Green reached on consecutive bases-loaded walks.
Arkansas scored its final run on another hit by Gibson in the fifth inning. The single to left field combined with the quick feet of Parr gave Parr the time she needed to cross the plate from second.
Storms’ 13 strike outs are not only a career high, but also a game high for the Razorbacks this season. Through 35 innings in the circle, Storms has given up only two runs, three walks and has struck out 40 batters.
The Hogs will return to Bogle Park on Friday for day two of the Razorback Invitational. Arkansas will face SEMO again at 4:45 p.m. and then SIU-Edwardsville at 7 p.m.